PETROL PUMP owners in Maharashtra have welcomed the decision of a division bench of the Bombay High Court that “has disallowed signage outside petrol pumps, declaring petrol pump toilets as public toilets open to general public.” In a press release, the All India Petrol Dealers’ Association (AIPDA) claimed that the High Court had questioned Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) over its decision, and sought to know how did the body get “sweeping powers to convert private toilets into public toilets under the garb of the Swachh Bharat programme?”
“The court said the civic body has sought to blatantly misuse the Government Of India clean India initiative in this manner, saddling the unsuspecting petrol pump owners with what is none other than their own responsibility; to provide citizens with public sanitation,” stated the release. The court gave the ruling four days ago. “The HC maintained that should the BMC not remove all such boards, inviting all and sundry to use private petrol pump toilets, they shall be forced to pass strict orders,” said AIPDA spokesperson Ali Daruwalla.
“The move has come after various associations across Maharashtra, including the AIPDA in Delhi, had approached the courts against the unfair, poorly thought stand of the municipal corporations…” said Daruwalla. “Pump owners have strongly resisted this unfair and ill-thought out municipal corporation idea, in the interests of safety and hygiene, as would undoubtedly have been seriously compromised at petrol pumps where there are exceedingly sensitive, explosive zones surrounding fuel reservoirs. These would have been needlessly exposed to persons who may smoke and light matchsticks inside/ around the toilets, requiring security personnel to monitor toilets round the clock, as is not feasible or a responsibility as can fairly be expected of petrol pump owners,” said the release.